Wineries Are Spiking Wines With Wood Chips And Grape Juice
Good wine, the kind that doesn't come in boxes with a mascot on it, can get expensive. It's made from the finest of grapes, and is then left to ferment in caskets made of rich oak. That's why wines with a deep color and a slightly wooden taste are a surefire sign of quality. Except that wineries have found a much more efficient way of giving their wine its oaken flavor: They simply put wood in the wine.
Turns out that those barrels you saw on the tour of your local winery may have only been for show. Wooden barrels are now being replaced with steel vats, but to keep the wine's expensive oaken taste, it gets mixed with "barrel alternatives." That's a fancy term for wood staves, chips, and even shavings thrown into a vat along with the wine. Why? Because using shavings shaves a dollar off the price of a bottle (on their end, of course, not ours), up until all those splinter-related lawsuits presumably start pouring in.
But that's not the only way wineries are cutting corners. A lot of wine is made using something called "Mega Purple," which sounds like the main villain in a coloring-themed manga. It's a grape concentrate, or slurry, which big wine labels add to underwhelming red wine to intensify the flavor and color and sometimes even to mask spoilage. It's estimated that over 25 million bottles get spiked with Mega Purple on a yearly basis. Many wineries rely so heavily on it that they have their own reverse-osmosis machines which let them make their own concentrates by extracting the alcohol from their shitty wines to pump up slightly less shitty wine. Yummy.
And then there's the migrant labor. California's famous Napa Valley is heavily dependent on migrant laborers, to the extent that The New York Times wrote that "nearly every drop" of the wine depends on them. And lest you think they're being treated well, that's not how migrant labor works. Vineyards overwork their laborers, and often cheat them out of most of their paychecks through exorbitant living expenses, making it so that a typical worker might only earn $10 for ten hours of backbreaking work. It seems that from field to cellar, something other than grapes is being squeezed.
A Third Of All Fish Is Intentionally Mislabeled
Like most humans (except for those people who compulsively eat pennies), we're very particular about the things we eat. As a result, "mystery meat" is regarded as less of a gourmet experience and more of a post-apocalyptic necessity. But in seafood restaurants, one out of three times, what you shovel on your fork might not be what you pointed at on the menu at all.
As we've mentioned before, the food industry has a long history of falsely labeling things to attract picky customers. However, when it comes to selling fish, mislabeling has become an epidemic. According to an investigation by Oceana, which tested 1,200 samples from supermarkets and restaurants across 21 states, it was discovered that 33 percent of fish were mislabeled. In South California, that number rose to an astonishing 52 percent, meaning there were more phony fish than the real McCod. Nowhere but LA could even their fish be mostly fake.